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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2841

Mr HOLDING (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs)(5.28) —I move:

Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 10 to 12 (1987).

The tariff proposals I have just tabled relate to proposed alterations to the Customs Tariff Act 1982. Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 10 and 11 (1987) provide for the duty free entry of gas barbecues and parts thereof of New Zealand origin from 8 May 1986. The Australian and New Zealand governments have agreed that gas barbecues and parts thereof are not covered by the modified arrangement on whitegoods under the Australia-New Zealand closer economic relations trade agreement. Accordingly such goods should have been subject to the normal phasing arrangements of the agreement rather than being dutiable until 30 June 1987. The changes contained in these proposals provide duty free entry for the maximum period allowable under the relevant Customs refund provisions.

Customs Tariff Proposals No. 12 (1987) implement changes arising from the Government's decisions on the Industries Assistance Commission's reports on vegetables and vegetable products and on the luggage, handbags and similar containers industry. These changes will operate on and from tomorrow.

In respect of the vegetables and vegetable products report, the Government has accepted the Commission's recommendation that imports of fresh vegetables be dutiable at minimum rates and imports of processed vegetables be dutiable at a general tariff rate of 10 per cent. In addition, the Government has decided that fresh mushrooms will also become dutiable at a long term general tariff rate of 10 per cent. Where assistance will be significantly reduced, tariff reductions are to be phased in so as to give the relevant sectors adequate time to adjust.

In respect of the Commission's report on luggage, handbags and similar containers, the Government has decided on a uniform general tariff rate of 15 per cent for most of the goods which were under reference. A range of goods, including non-leather cases, trunks and handbags will be dutiable at a general tariff rate of 25 per cent until the end of this year. The general tariff rate on these goods will then phase to 20 per cent for all of 1988 and then to 15 per cent from 1 January 1989.

The general tariff rate for those goods currently dutiable at rates lower than 15 per cent will rise to 15 per cent from tomorrow. The uniform long term tariff treatment will assist in resolving classification problems that have previously provided incentives for substitution and reclassification.

Summaries of the alterations contained in these proposals have been prepared and are being circulated to honourable members. I commend the proposals to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Moore) adjourned.